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Quotes: Jay Gruden And DeSean Jackson (08.03.15)

August 3, 2015

Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center – Richmond, Va.

Head Coach Jay Gruden


On how quarterback Robert Griffin III has looked in camp thus far:

"He's been doing fine. It's just going back to the basics really. We're continuing to build off what we did last year and then obviously in OTAs. It's just all about repetition now and gaining more knowledge of the system, anticipation and a feel for the throws and the protections and the run game. Obviously the quarterback has a lot on his plate. Any time we get a chance to go out here and practice against our defense and he's got to make sound, quick decisions, it's a good thing. We evaluate the heck out of him. Matt [Cavanaugh] coaches the heck out of him, Sean [McVay] does.  Overall I think he's handled everything extremely well. He's benefiting from Coach Cavanaugh's presence and he's benefiting from the repetitions. I feel like he's on a steady climb and we've just got to keep him that way."

On if he feels the focus being away from Griffin is positive:

"It is, but the focus is always on the quarterback, I think. We're trying to make this more about the team than Robert, obviously. We don't want to put too much pressure on our quarterback. I mentioned before we can do a lot to take away that pressure with strong running game and good sound defense and special teams. But overall, Robert is Robert. He's going to get a lot of attention and deservedly so – he's a great player. We've just got to keep building him and building his confidence and get him ready for Miami."

On injury updates:

"Matt Jones has a sore knee and he will be held out today. He will be day-to-day. I got Matt Jones with a knee [injury]. Willie Smith will still be out with an Achilles [injury]. Tevin Mitchel is going to have planned surgery for his labrum. [Bashaud] Breeland will be out obviously for the four weeks, but he has a mild knee sprain. We're hoping for Wednesday."

On which labrum cornerback Tevin Mitchel injured:

"I think it's his left." 

If Mitchel's injured shoulder was the same one from college:
"Different one. It's the other one."

On wide receiver DeSean Jackson saying he's always willing to do more if asked:
"DeSean will never be satisfied [laughter], that's just the way he is. We want to have great balance, there's no question about it. He understands the importance of that. He's just a wide receiver with big play capabilities, obviously, and you'd love to give him the ball a lot. You'd love to give Pierre [Garçon] the ball a lot, Jordan Reed obviously. When it comes down to it, man, it's all about the quarterback throwing to who we think is open. There's a lot of time where he'll get doubled, and he won't get the ball. But when he is singled up, we have got to take advantage of it, and he's got to take advantage of it when his opportunity comes. It might be four or five times a game, it might be 12 times a game. We don't know yet. But DeSean has been great since we got him here and you've just got to be patient and when the balls come to him, make the play like he always does."

On what players are encouraged to do on their off day:

"We're hoping they get some rest. They're going to need it. We've got full pads today and it's going to be hot and we're working pretty good today. Tonight they'll have a little bit off so they can get a good meal outside the hotel if they'd like and just rest. Get away from the coaches for a day, let us get away from them for a day would be nice and then be ready to go. There's not a whole lot they'll do I think, but rest is the big thing."

On HBO's Hard Knocks:

"Hopefully we won't be mic'd. Hopefully they're the only ones mic'd. We're just going to go business as usual. Really, Hard Knocks, they do a great job of staying out of your way and not being too intrusive. We're just going to be ourselves and go out and play."

* *

On if the team could use tight end Jordan Reed like a receiver in the red zone:

"Yes, we could do that. There's a lot of things you can do. Pierre's got good size. Jordan Reed, he's also a matchup out there. DeSean [Jackson], despite his size, he actually plays pretty big. He's got vertical jump and he can go up and get it if need be. That's just something you have to deal with – the personnel that you have. Ryan Grant, he's over six-foot-tall so he can make some plays, but it's not bad to have the shifty ones that can change direction or find holes in the zone. There's a lot of things we can do without having a 6-foot-4 receiver. You'd love to have a couple of those but I like the guys that we have, I really do."

* *

On if he watched wide receiver DeSean Jackson's reality series:

"I have not. I can't wait to tune in [laughter]… No, I haven't seen it. I'm sure it's entertaining."

* *

On Reed:

"I do see a difference and I feel a difference with Jordan. Jordan, I told him that he is doing his normal thing in the passing game. He's doing a great job of getting open, and obviously snatching the ball and running after the catch. You can see his shiftiness and his 'make-people-miss' ability. Really what I've noticed is when we ask him to pass protect, he's doing an excellent job. He really is. Even in the running game he's doing a good job. You can see he's got a little bit more strength, a little bit more confidence in his strength also. Wes Phillips is doing a great job with him, working on his hands and his body position and sustaining blocks. He's got a ways to go in the running game and all that stuff, but I see a really big improvement out of Jordan Reed and a total package of being a tight end, not just being a receiver. We know what he can do at wide receiver, we're just trying to get him to be a three-down tight end. He's doing a good job of that."

* *

On how long Mitchel will be out:

"Most likely he'll be out for the year."

On date of Mitchel's surgery:

"I don't know. We're debating whether to do it sooner or when we get back to Ashburn."

On if today's practice will be the first with full pads:

"Yeah, we were in shoulder pads yesterday. Players weren't required to wear knee pads and all that. We want them to wear everything they're going to wear on game day – the thigh pads, the knee pads, all the stuff they're required to wear – so we can do some live stuff today."

On the purpose of wearing full pads:

"Well, just to get them used to wearing it. It's important for them to get used to what they're going to wear on game day so the first time they wear it, it's not on game day. So we'll get them acclimated to the full pads and see how they react and run if it slows down the fast guys if it doesn't inhibit them at all. The main thing is getting them comfortable in the outfit so they know what they like to wear and what they don't like to wear."

On if it is too early to see the impact of Offensive Line Coach Bill Callahan:

"No, it's not too early. You can see the impact they have from not just the physical standpoint, but from the mental standpoint. He does a great job working the heck out of them. You know, on the field you see them working non-stop. When the whistle blows after stretch, man, the linemen are working and it lasts until well after practice is over. Obviously they meet extra, more so than any group in our building. So, I think he's really doing a great job getting those guys ready. He has to. We have some young guys that are going to play a key role in our success this year and they have to be mentally ready obviously as well as physically ready. You feel a lot better when you're the quarterback if you know the linemen know exactly who to block and how to do it. Bill's going to get them ready and I do feel the impact"

On if the defense is hitting running back Matt Jones harder than other players:

"Well, when Matt runs in the hole full speed, the first couple times and he gets the best of a guy, then people are well aware of that, and they're going to bring the funk a little bit more to him. There have been some good, friendly collisions so far with Matt getting the ball, but that's what you like to see. You like to have a guy violently hit through the hole and keep his feet moving and you like the defense to make sure they're in a good position to make a tackle with their knees bent and their head up – good thumping going on."

On how Morgan Moses and Josh LeRibeus looked working with the ones yesterday:

"Moses is really doing well. He's coming off that injury and he's gained a few pounds of muscle. I really like where Morgan is and where he's going. I think he's got a lot of upside obviously, and we felt that – that's why we drafted him last year. He's coming along at a good clip and as long as he just keeps studying and keeps working, he's going to be in good shape. And LeRibeus, this is really the first time he's played full-time center. He's going with the twos, yesterday he got a chance to go with the ones. He's progressing well. It's a tough position, man. There's a lot of calls and a lot of things a center has to take care of pre-snap. It's brand new to him, let alone the snaps and the shotgun snaps have been efficient. We're happy with his progress also."

On linebacker Junior Galette:
"Galette's still working with the trainers mostly and the weight/strength coach. We'll hopefully get him out sooner than later but we're going to hold him out a few more days."

On linebacker Perry Riley, Jr.:
"Perry Riley has really done a great job mentally with this new system. We're asking him to do a few different things, but he's playing with his eyes very well. He's getting himself into position. He can cover anybody out of the backfield, any tight end because he can run. And obviously his presence is felt out there. Perry and Keenan [Robinson] both, the inside backers are doing great."

Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson


On his goals for the upcoming season:
"I think every year you come back to training camp and  just being a professional athlete, you expect high standards from yourself and from your teammates. Carrying off from last year, I think it was a disappointing year for us across the whole board and whole organization. I think we need to do a good job of giving ourselves a good position early in the season to kind of set it up for the end of the year. I think the work has been put in – the offseason, new additions, new coaches – the whole nine. I think we're very comfortable with where we're at with the talent level, the coaches and everything. Our work is done on that field in between them lines, so I think we're doing that and everybody is moving towards one common goal."

On if his familiarity with the quarterbacks from last year will help moving forward:
"It's definitely a great thing to have quarterbacks that you're used to dealing with. Last year we played with three different quarterbacks. As long as I think them guys can stay healthy, we can get the best out of them. Not put too much pressure – it's everybody across the board, it's a team sport – it's not a one man game. I think everybody has to be held accountable, everybody has to take their game up to another notch to get the results we need."

On his reality series, DeSean Jackson: Home Team, on BET:

"It's just an opportunity I had. That's offseason-type stuff. I'm at work doing my first job. That's what I'm focused on. I know what's important. I know where my breadwinner is, and that's actually being a professional athlete and playing at a high level. So what I do in the offseason is obviously what I choose to do and I'm here now, ready to work and focus on the season."

On if taping for the entire season is complete:

"Yes, sir."

On the progress he has seen from quarterbacks Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy:

"I honestly think I definitely have seen progression in RGIII and all the other quarterbacks this year too, as well – Kirk and Colt. I think it's a year-to-year base — them guys are young. They have some experience early in their career. They just kind of have to build on that. But I've definitely been seeing them guys out here making some great throws, tremendous reads and getting the ball to where it needs to go to at the right time."

On if the quarterbacks are now anticipating his speed:

"Really, that comes with practice. The more we go and take reps, the more we go out on the field and play catch and things like that, but I definitely think they're anticipating out there. They're letting me run under the ball. They're giving me the opportunities to make plays down the field. As a receiver and as someone that has the speed that's able to break the coverage off the defenses, that's all you kind of ask for. They're doing a good job with that right now."

On if he sees himself in rookie wide receiver Jamison Crowder:

"Yeah, man. He's actually very impressive. I saw that early on in the OTAs for the time I was here. So far in camp, he's been lighting it up. I can remember when I first came in the league I was young and I like that. They're putting him in there, they're throwing him in there to see everything he can do and he's actually coming out with some great results. As long as he can keep making them plays and doing what he needs to do, being a little guy in this league and shiftier and things like that, he's going to be able to make some big plays and be a big name in this league if he continues to do that."

On facing the veterans in the secondary:

"It's a competitive game. We play this game at a high level. As far the receivers here that's on this team, we all have been very successful playing in this league. You know, Pierre [Garçon], Dre [Andre Roberts], other guys –

Ryan [Grant] is a good talent, he's going on his second year, I think we're very confident in ourselves so anytime we go out there, we always want to win. That's the competitive nature of being a wide receiver. On the other end, as far as the DBs, they're competing, they're doing the things they need to do to get better. It's all about work, putting in that work. So as long as we're able to get good work and they're able to get good work, we're all teammates. We want everybody to do good at the end of the day. We still have to work and still have to compete, so I'm just interested in how that goes once the season comes along and we start playing other teams." 

On having a mother and sister that aren't afraid to challenge him:

"I think it definitely is a challenge to have people in my life that care for my well-being. It's just doing the right things, going out there and making the last name Jackson actually look good and the Redskins as well too because I'm working for them. They stay on top of me for every little thing I do, as I said a hundred times, I'm still a grown man and I'm the one who's making decisions. I think the balance is good. I appreciate them for what they do and they keep me balanced. I think everybody kind of needs that in their life, someone to balance them, someone to tell you when you're doing things wrong or when you're doing things right just still to be able to listen and take criticism from other people."

On his relationship with cornerback Chris Culliver:

"Well, actually, this is my first year really getting to know him and really being friends with him. Before in the past we've kind of had times where we played against each other when I was in Philly and last year when we played in San Francisco. As far as his skills, I think he's a great skill player. He's a good cover corner in this league and he's had some good success. To have him be an addition to this team, I think it definitely is a great thing to have. Anytime you're able to get a guy that started and started well and had success to come into your team and fit right in right away and make some plays, that's what you look forward to. I think our relationship has been going good. We're talking to each other, talking about things on the field, just hanging out and being friends."

* *

On his finger:

"It's cool, it's just a little dislocated. I popped it back in place. I'm good. I'll be all right – it's just a finger."

* *

On Culliver's skills and his approach to covering Jackson:

"He's a cover corner. He's one of them guys who is going to sit off and read. He's going to read the quarterback, he's going to play his technique and do things to that type of nature. As far as what challenges me, I don't really get caught up in any of that type of stuff because I'm comfortable and confident in myself that I don't think no one could guard me [smiling]. I mean he's a good player, don't get nothing wrong away from him. It's just how I feel about myself. I don't feel no one could stop me – you could go get Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman, whoever you want to get, but at the end of the day, we're competing. We're out here, we're working and that's all that matters. As long as we're able to get the best out of each other every rep and do what we need to do to work to get better, that's what's going on right now."

* *

On being labeled a "playmaker" and if he would like to do more: "I would always love to do more. If my number could get called a little more, I definitely would love that. I feel great where we are at right now. I'm just an addition to other players on this team. I do what I do good but there are several players on this team too that could do some great things as well too. Whatever opportunity I get, every change I get the opportunity to make a play, I'm going to make the most out of my skills to score touchdowns, have energy to light my team up, to get everybody riled up to continue to go out on the field and just play at a high level. I just try to set the tempo by playing at a high level and then everybody else can kind of follow."

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